We talk a lot about the fighting spirit within all of us. Fighting for yourself sometimes means slowing down and listening to your body. That mind body connection is a pretty simple concept, so why is it so hard to achieve?
YORK brand ambassador Whitney Hull-Benson has a serious passion for complete mind and body wellness. Her passion comes from a lifetime of learning about her body and its abilities through different forms of movement like ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, contact improvisation, capoeira, ballroom dance, Pilates and yoga.
As a fitness instructor and health and wellness advocate, Whitney wants to help people understand and appreciate their bodies. She infuses her classes with body positivity and positive affirmations, reminding students what they are capable of, no matter what their skill level. She encourages her students to ask themselves how moving makes them feel versus how it makes them look. Voted “Most motivating instructor of 2016 on the West Coast” by Class Pass, her students are obviously receiving the message loud and clear.
Her classes have a strong emphasis on technique, the benefits of proper alignment, and overall appreciation of the incredible machines that are our bodies. Check out a few form technique tips from our mind body guru in this week’s Out of Step journal post...
THINKING ABOUT THE BACK OF YOUR BODY
The back of the body isn't often thought about. In your next exercise, in your next class, in your next step, think about the backside of your body. Consciously breath into the back of your lungs, think about your shoulder blades as you walk, think about your calves and what they're up to. It's a whole new world when you move with new focus. It can completely alter a movement, teaching you something new about the way your body experiences something it's done possibly a thousand times before.
Moving with your weight can help you move from a more genuine place. Thinking about the heaviest bone structures of the body and then either working with or against them is the most natural form of resistance training possible.
FORM AND EFFICIENCY
Form is the most important element in any modality of movement. Efficiency is always my focus. With that being said, there is no perfect. That's what keeps us coming back to whatever type of movement speaks to us, right?
You can never fully succeed in anything. Letting go of the "should" when it comes to form--as in what it "should look like" is the best release. Bringing your attention fully to what it feels like instead, that's the perspective that may just bring you closer to "perfect.”
Whitney Hull-Benson is a YORK Athletics brand ambassador. She currently teaches classes at @firebrandsports and @ridepdx in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about her, check her out on Instagram @whitneyliz
All photography credited to Cel Jarvis.